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Terrorism Act: Section 44 Powers

Volume 710: debated on Monday 18 May 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the geographical extent of each of the authorisations under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 that are in force. [HL3468]

The Home Office does not make the fact of the existence of an authorisation in any particular area public while it is running or for how long a particular force has had an authorisation. This includes the geographical extent of each of the authorisations. It is the responsibility of an ACPO rank officer in the relevant police forces to justify reasons for an authorisation to cover a whole force area or a designated area. It is open to the chief officer of the relevant police force to share this information where they think it is appropriate.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many authorisations under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act have been subject to legal scrutiny, as referred to in Home Office circular 027/2008. [HL3469]

Under Section 36 of the Terrorism Act 2006 a report on the operation of the provisions of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 must be laid before both Houses of Parliament every 12 months.

The reviews of and reports on these Acts are carried out by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC in his role as independent reviewer of terrorism legislation and this includes scrutiny of Section 44 authorisations which he conducts twice yearly. The only legal challenge to a Section 44 authorisation was in R (Gillan) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2006] UKHL 12. The challenge was rejected by the House of Lords.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what community impact measures have been taken in areas where authorisations under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 have been made. [HL3470]

A community impact assessment is completed by all forces prior to a Section 44 authorisation being confirmed. Forces need to consider whether it is appropriate to consult representatives of the local community in advance of authorising the powers. However, any decision not to consult with the community, due to operational reasons, should be fully explained and justified by the authorising officer.